Still from François Reichenbach’s Nus masculins (1954)

Nus Masculins (1954) is a gay travelogue that silently captures young men across various locations in the U.S. and Europe, mainly parks and beaches, with significant stops in Central Park and Rome’s Stadio de Marmi, where the stadium’s neoclassical marble statues of male athletes are repurposed into a homoerotic cruising ground—perhaps the only acceptable use for fascist architecture.

The camera lingers on a collection of sunbathers, sailors, preppy boys, and swimmers in tight speedos. As the title suggests, many are wearing no clothes at all. Seeing what kind of young men François was preoccupied with, it’s clear he had a type (young, white, and twinky), but considering the violently anti-gay era this film was made, it’s shocking it even exists at all.

Homocommunist, July 4, 2024